The Infighting

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Amanda Walker returns this week with passion and a punch. Her heart is truly Hungry For More of Jesus. May every Christian drop sectarianism to allow the Spirit to live His Life within.

This year has been a tough one. A reckoning has occurred in my small part of the world as I’ve struggled to know who to trust. I’ve also come to see why the church is seen as detached from reality.  

Granted, most people outside of the Southern Baptist Convention have no clue, nor do they care, what is going on within our ranks. They see fights over a woman’s right to preach, hear about sexual abuse within the church and sniff our anger over whether or not Calvin’s understanding of salvation is biblical.

I’ve seen religious political jockeying among new, upcoming leaders. People opposed to politicalization are now the ones leading the charge. Once a group gains power, there is a desire at whatever cost, to hold onto that power. I’ve seen continued infighting, name calling, and insults from the very ones who once seemed above the nonsense behind the comfort of the computer screen. 

What in the world are we doing? And WHY?

I’ll admit, the “what” question is harder for me to answer. I’m baffled with the Twitter/Facebook posts. I love a good argument (just ask my husband), but I can’t get over how those claiming the indwelling Holy Spirit are talking to and about each other. Have they forgotten that we are all on the same team, and part of the same Body of Jesus Christ? Just because people disagree on non-gospel tertiary issues, why make them an enemy? 

Maybe I’m too simple-minded, but it doesn’t make sense to me. If I fought with everyone I disagreed with, I wouldn’t have anyone in my corner. Some would say: “You just don’t understand! You haven’t been hurt the way I have; you haven’t been spoken to the way I have; you haven’t been…” 

Oh, don’t be too quick to draw conclusions. I’ve been in this denominational bubble for almost twenty years, including graduating with two degrees from one of the seminaries that is now being ripped on Twitter. I get it. People, including me, have been hurt. But, we must do better and stop perpetuating the hurt.

Stop perpetuating the hurt Click To Tweet

Yes, there are definitely issues and many denominations are tackling their problems head-on. However every issue, misspoken word, or ill thought-out sermon illustration is not a hill worth dying on. Let’s save our energy for the issues that really matter. 

The “why” question is a little easier for me. I believe with everything in me that the reason we fight within the church is because WE CAN. Up until this point in history, the American church has been spared the vast persecution that is rampant in most of the world. Sure, a few of us professing Christians experience social, academic, familial, and maybe even financial discomfort. But, we aren’t living in fear for our life or that of our family. 

I’ve visited, worked, and even lived in countries that experience true persecution. They aren’t just afraid of losing their business; they fear losing their life. When those new believers choose to be baptized they are often asked: “Will you believe in Jesus even when your life or your family’s life is threatened?” If they aren’t willing to lay down their life for the sake of the gospel, then they dare not go through baptismal waters.

Will you believe in Jesus even when your life is threatened? Click To Tweet

I’ve never heard that question asked in our cushy, American churches. But, what if we approached our relationship with Christ the way our persecuted brothers and sisters do? Would our relationships look different? Would we see each other as a necessity? Would we love one another better? Would we serve instead of fight each other? Would we work together instead of against each other? I think…no, I KNOW…we would. 

What if we approached our relationship with Christ the way our persecuted brothers and sisters do? Click To Tweet

You see, my friends living in those countries need each other. They pray together, serve together, and sometimes die together. They don’t have the luxury of wondering whether a woman can teach a man or whether Calvin’s doctrine is correct. The depth of their issues are often life threatening. Oh, that we would turn our hearts away from this infighting and towards Jesus. This is true unity. 

Our culture sees us as a fractured, out-of-touch religious denomination in decline. My prayer is that we would be dynamic and life-giving because we have an indwelling Savior worth serving and dying for. Our persecuted brothers and sisters get it. May it not take a rampant outbreak in persecution before we really get it.

Leaders, it begins with us! 

Photo by Scott Umstattd on Unsplash